My Reading Habits: Past & Present

Since 2008, I have digitally kept track of the number of books I’ve read annually (with the exception of 2012 and 2013 — not sure what happened those two years). From a quick glance of my “completed books” lists from the past decade, I can deduce the following about my reading habits:

  • I still enjoy reading a mix of nonfiction and fiction, and tend to find myself ‘stuck’ reading a couple nonfiction books at the same time (this is my current predicament).
  • I’m still interested in reading about business (marketing), productivity, and health/nutrition when it comes to nonfiction.
  • In my fiction reading, I have dabbled in YA/fantasy reading in more recent years (last year I finally got around to reading the Harry Potter series, and subsequently watched all the movies).
  • I am not sure why in certain years I read over 20 books, while in other years I would barely eke by with 10 books: lack of inspiration? Lack of time? Hard to say.

From Reading to Listening

In 2019, I completed 19 books, with the majority of them being audiobooks that I checked out from Denver Public Library. I have found that my ‘reading’ habit has changed over to favoring audiobooks in the past couple of years due to the multitasking nature of the format: I can listen to an audiobook and still stare out the window of a bus or focus on a knit/crochet project at the same time.

Digital Reading

I have been trying to use my Kindle more: I received it as a gift in 2010 and it is still full of many books I haven’t read yet. I signed up for a limited-time offer to check out Kindle Unlimited through mid-March, and am so far not impressed with the service (it really isn’t unlimited, so the name is a misnomer). At least I am able to check out the latest issue of Writers Digest through the service, though.

Sparse Bookshelves

My bookshelves at home used to be overflowing with many books I hadn’t had the chance to read (yet). Last summer, in the midst of my job search, I purged most of those books since they had gathered dust/taken up space and had also moved with me through several different apartment moves.

The books that still remain on my shelves are half books I still want to read, and other books that I have read already and enjoyed.

After moving so many times since 2007, I am intentionally cutting down on my purchases (especially with books), since I have experienced one too many times how heavy moving boxes of books can be.

My 2020 reading goals are simple:

  • Read all fiction on my physical bookshelves.
  • Check out a few more books/magazines on Kindle Unlimited, and then cancel my membership.
  • Read at least five books already pre-loaded on my Kindle.
  • Select a few nonfiction books from my bookshelves and read them. I’m not putting an exact number on this goal, since I tend to get bogged down with too many nonfiction books all at once.
  • Limit audiobooks (checked out from the library) to one per month so that I can focus on my current collection at home/digitally.


Looking Back & Looking Forward

East Asian adult woman smiling, wearing neckwarmer and sweater.
New Year’s Eve 2019.

Hello 2020 — as everyone has continued to emphasize, it’s not only the start of another New Year, but also a new decade.

2019 was a series of challenges and important lessons learned, both professionally and personally. Only in the final weeks of the year did I realize that I have had this website and blog for over ten years (launched this website in early 2009).

In the early days of this website, I had set out on my writing ambitions and blogged fairly regularly. 2010 – 2013 were years of transition and big changes, yet I continued to blog on a regular basis as I explored different career options and began my entrepreneurial journey during that time.

In the past five years, my blogging became more and more infrequent as I let myself get caught up in the anxiety of what others thought of me. I am sad to say that there were many times where others’ opinions of me got the best of me expressing myself here.

Well, thanks to 2019’s lessons and challenges, I am renewing my journey here.

Over the next few months, I will be checking in more frequently and will also do a website overhaul. What will I write about? Whatever is on my mind at the time–because it’s time I finally give myself permission again to express myself however I feel, especially with my writing.

family travel

Overseas Travel: Taiwan and Hong Kong

Last month, I had the opportunity to take a ten-day trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong with my parents and brother. Prior to this trip, I hadn’t traveled abroad in the last decade, especially with the ebbs and flows of my career (and my personal finances). This particular trip was well-timed, since it was right after the Christmas holidays, so I could still stay with my family until we departed overseas. This was also a moment where I saw the huge benefit of working for myself/freelancing: I could work from anywhere in the world (of course, I also see the downside of this–I can work from anywhere, and I must keep working at least part-time to make sure I’m able to pay bills!).

Here are a few highlights from the trip:

My Health & Fitness The Great Outdoors

Mount Bierstadt: First 14er and 7 Teachable Moments

During these past six months, I have rededicated myself to investing in my overall health and fitness: I have a monthly membership to a fitness center and have my own personal trainer, who trains me hard twice a week (hi, Brittany!). When it comes to my health and fitness, these days I am not merely working out for aesthetics: I also know that this time around, I am in it for the long haul, and that this is a lifestyle, not a hobby.

We started hiking Mount Bierstadt before dawn and got to enjoy seeing the sunrise on the mountains.
Along the trail towards Mount Bierstadt: look at the beautiful sunrise behind me!

So, what better way to test my endurance than to hike a 14er (if you had asked me this time last year about hiking a 14er, I would have promptly said, “No thank you!”). This is exactly what I did over this past weekend with Ryan.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term “14er”, the term refers to mountain peaks that are 14,000 feet and higher, and Colorado boasts over fifty of them alone. These mountains vary in difficulty in terms of elevation, length of hike, and terrain.

Mount Bierstadt sits at 14,060 feet and is considered a Class 2 mountain to hike.
Mount Bierstadt in the afternoon, with storm clouds rolling in.

It was only last Thursday (July 5th) when Ryan and I decided to hike Mount Bierstadt, which sits at 14,060 feet and is considered a Class 2 mountain. Before this, we had only driven up Pikes Peak and Mount Evans, so Mount Bierstadt was going to be the first 14er for us to hike. I admit, I was a little nervous about hiking it, even though as Ryan researched about the mountain, he said that overall, other hikers seemed to think that the mountain was an ‘easy hike’. I read over a blog post by Laura Skladzinski at 50by25 about her experience with Mount Bierstadt, and the post helped me prepare mentally for the challenging parts of the climb.

The whole hike up and down Mount Bierstadt took us about 9.5 hours round-trip, for a total of 6.9 miles and 2,729 feet in elevation gain (we already started at about 11,000 feet at the trailhead). The trail is very popular among people of all fitness levels, including families–although I am not sure how many of these families made it to the summit. Needless to say, the whole hike exhausted us out, but we made it to the top with relatively no altitude sickness symptoms. Hoorah!

Anyhow, we did take away some lessons from the whole experience, which will be handy for those of you who are curious to try out a 14er in the future.

Birthday Memories Slice of Life

Another Trip Around the Sun

Having a birthday shortly after the start of the year has always been interesting for me: add in Chinese New Year usually occurring around this time of the year, and every year, I have three opportunities to welcome in “a new year”.

This first month of 2018 has been a slow start to get back into a regular routine, yet also allowed me more margin to think about what’s most important in my life. I have been uncovering more of my purpose, and noticing the little (yet very valuable) treasures throughout each day of my life. I am abundantly blessed with beautiful friendships in all areas of my life, and I appreciate them all.

I have also been putting a big focus on my health and fitness, and just today I signed up for three months of personal training at my new gym downtown. It is definitely a worthwhile investment for my overall health, although it’s also a stretch for my budget at the moment.

As the saying goes: we have to get uncomfortable to grow.

Cheers to another birthday: another opportunity to celebrate and love on others more.